(Red) Underwear John
After most people left, the best part of the Sidney Sunrise Water Warrior plunge happened… a tourist who was doing his morning jog, stopped, stripped, ran into the water, had tea with us, and then continued on his merry way!
Now that’s spontaneity and a wonderful example of the ‘you only live once’ philosophy. Thanks for making our day, John!
I would have had a million reasons, excuses, whatever you want to call them not to go it; first, it’s freezing water, then I’m sweaty from running, I have no towel, no way to get home, my undies will be wet, I will be uncomfortable. Ahhhh maybe that’s it – let’s delve further, why wouldn’t I go in – because I wouldn’t be comfortable, and I like to be comfortable- who doesn’t?
But John didn’t care about being comfortable, he cared about experiences, he cared about living his life to the fullest, he cared about meeting new people. If he hadn’t gone in, it would have been a lovely, uneventful, oceanside lovely run on a cool day in a new place, but because he said ‘yes’, he created an experience for himself (and for others) that will not be forgotten anytime soon.
So having experienced his experience, would I now say ‘yes’, if the situation happened to me?
Hmmm. I want to want to say yes, but we live a life consumed with ‘what will other people think’; it’s ok for a man to do this – would it be harder for a woman? Well, I hope I would at least think about it more and not make it an absolute no. But wait, maybe that’s the problem, maybe we overthink it – we don’t just do. We come up with all sorts of reasons to say no, what if I asked, “What would John do?”
If I want to live (even more) fully I could ask myself… ‘What would I do if being comfortable wasn’t the main goal?’ After all, many things in life, many great things, come out of not being comfortable: education for your profession; weeding through bad relationships to get to the good one; getting through childbirth to hold that baby; climbing that mountain, writing that book, learning that language, making that move, changing companies, et al.
Looking back, often it’s not the easy, comfortable things that we remember; it’s the things that we worked hard for, that made us sweat, cry, grieve, struggle, and think.
After the plunge, as I shared my tea with John (I just happened to have an extra cup), he told me about his 10-year commitment to Alcoholics Anonymous and about some of the travel adventures that he and his girlfriend were embarking on before they headed back to England and I said, “You’re lucky to be able to do that.” He looked me square in the eyes and said, “Luck has nothing to do with it, it’s choices that we make.”
While I agree that the choices that we make largely influence our life, I believe that there is a certain amount of luck that comes into play as well – lucky your health is allowing you to physically do those things you want to do, that your mental health is intact, that you didn’t get hit by a bus, etc – but I digress (that’s fodder for another enews).
If we are lucky enough to be able to make choices, I hope I continue to have the courage to make choices that, even if uncomfortable at first, allow me to live the width of my life, not just the length of it. According to death-clock.org I’m going to live to be 96 years 4 months and 27 days and I will die on April 7, 2062. It doesn’t take into account that I’m pretty clumsy and am a fairly big risk taker, but whatever; for as long as I’m here, I’m givin’ er.
Thanks for the reminder, Underwear John!
Livin’er & Given’er, Steph
PS – It’s my B’day month – I’m accepting challenges!
Stephanie  Staples

Stephanie Staples

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